To give a back story to begin my question, my daughter is selling Girl Scout cookies and in the process of selling them, I've run into people who have said they are giving up chocolate for Lent. Now I have some questions about Lent. I've done a little bit of research and from what I understand, it's forty days long beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter. And that it's representitive of Jesus and his 40 days spent in the desert. Lent is to prepare the believer through prayer and self-denial as well. Maybe to try and put us in a place, spiritually, where our focus is soley on the Father.So to me, when you give up something for x amount of time, you are saying I'm going to deny myself something in order to focus more on Christ. In my limited understanding, isn't denying your self-will in all areas of our life and focusing on Christ something we should do each day? Is giving up eating chocolate cookies really satisfying what Lent is all about? It's like saying I'm going to stop watching T.V. for 40 days in order to focus more on Christ, then going back to T.V. after Easter; what's the point? I'm not trying to pick on individuals...I just want to understand the meaning of Lent and the real motivation behind it. I also want to confess, denying myself and carrying my cross is something I struggle with each day and in no way do I hold myself highier than another brother or sister. Thanks in advance for the information...God Bless.
Realizing that Lent is little more than a religious ritual to probably 90% of the people who observe it, I do think there is an underlying principle that is not at all bad. It is a little bit like fasting. Food is a basic need of our bodies, but also something that has a genuine hold over us. When we fast we deny the flesh and spend that time focusing on the things of the Spirit of God. Fasting breaks the power of the flesh over us so we can better walk in the Spirit. But sometimes there are other things that consume us that fasting will help to break as well. I once suggested to a young lady that she fast her cell phone and face book for a week or two. It was so consuming her time and energies (she was constantly checking facebook and posting through her phone) that she was spending little or no time in the presence of the Lord. It had become like an addiction and needed to be broken. Purists may disagree, but you don't have to fast just food, but anything that has a grip on the flesh. If Lent were to be observed in this spirit, then it would be a good thing. However, to wantonly feed your flesh for 11 months and then try to religiously observe one month of denying yourself by giving up something that was not really that big an issue anyway bears absolutely no fruit at all, and is the way Lent is observed by about 90% of those who practice it. Travis